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Ryan inducted into NMSU Entrepreneur Hall of Fame

Rachael Ryan ’10, a Ph.D. candidate at NMSU who has garnered attention worldwide for her business Backyard Farms, joined an elite group of entrepreneurs as the latest inductee into the NMSU Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Ryan was recognized for her outstanding achievement in entrepreneurship among NMSU alumni, and for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit in the Borderplex, which includes Las Cruces, El Paso and Juárez.

Ryan is pursuing a Ph.D. in population genetics and conservation biology. In 2017, she joined the Studio G business accelerator at Arrowhead Center, and went on to win that year’s Aggie Shark Tank competition. She then completed the AgSprint incubator for agriculturally focused businesses.

Backyard Farms has since blossomed into a successful enterprise, and recently began focusing on freeze-dried foods using produce with aesthetic imperfections that render it unsellable for small farmers. Ryan turns the produce into ready-to-eat snacks and culinary ingredients, saving it from landfills and returning it to the food system while helping to provide valuable income to farmers using freeze-dried technology. These foods reach food insecure populations across the state in schools, senior centers, daycare centers and tribal centers. Backyard Farms won the Success Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for this work in 2022. 

For more information on Backyard Farms, visit 



NMSU Board of Regents Chair Ammu Devasthali (left) and Jay Gogue, NMSU interim president from April 2023 to May 2024, formally inducted Rachael Ryan into the 2023 NMSU Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in December 2023.